Turning Your Life Over To God and Trusting Him To Lead You Is Like . . . . .
. . . . . riding a roller coaster for the very first time. You've heard things about roller coaster rides, but what you heard depended on who was doing the telling. From some people (usually kids, or chronological adults who remained kids at heart and kept their iron stomachs) you heard glorious stories about the thrilling climbs and descents, about the twists and turns and maybe even roll-overs. Their words and facial expressions and body language were filled with exhilaration and excitement. Even if they didn't tell you outright, you just knew from listening to them that they would jump at the chance to do it again and again and again. From other people, such as older folks, the faint-at-heart, etc., you heard about wrenched backs, whiplash, and the inevitable nausea.
You listen over and over to both types of reports and realize that sooner or later you will have to decide for yourself who is right because living vicariously doesn't work for you anymore. If you listen to the nay-sayers, you will never really know, so you decide to try for yourself and trust that you will survive the experience.
You, too, are filled with anticipation as you wait to get into the roller coaster car. Finally you are buckled in and as you start to roll away from the loading platform, you realize that you now have completely put your trust and faith in the roller coaster operators and their equipment. You have no control over what will happen for the next few minutes until the ride is over, so you decide to sit back and enjoy the ride. And what a ride it is! You go up at such a steep angle that you cannot possibly see what is ahead; you just have to trust that the ride has all been planned out for you before you ever got on and everything will be OK. You go down so fast you wonder how they ever keep control of this thing and keep it on the track, but afterwards you realize you were never in any real danger. You go through loops that seem to defy the law of gravity, and yet everything is under control, even though you have no idea how. You may go through a dark tunnel where you cannot see in or out and you realize that your trust is at it's strongest point here precisely because you cannot see in or out. You just have to trust that you will be where supposed to be when you are supposed to be there.
Suddenly, it's over. You are at the end of the ride. You look back and realize how much you would have missed had you not taken that first step and trusted. And the best part is, unlike a roller coaster ride, if you fall out or mess up or get sick, God does not get annoyed with you for His grace and mercy are endless. He will pick you up, clean you up, and bring you home with Him. On the other hand, your "friends" at the amusement park might want to pretend they don't know you!
. . . . . visiting Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone National Park has many geysers, pools of boiling hot mud, bodies of hot water filled with chemicals that could remove your skin, and dangerous wild animals capable of doing all sorts of bodily harm to you should you make the wrong move. Interestingly enough you are free to explore and experience these wonders with one caveat: STAY ON THE MARKED PATH! The paths and walkways are very well marked. There are wooden walkways right out over the pools of boiling mud. Some even have railings. Only by your own stupidity and disobedience would you ever leave these marked pathways, and those who do always pay a price, sometimes the ultimate one. Rangers are there to guide you if you have questions, and explain some of the dangers that maybe shouldn't need explaining, but not everyone is perceptive. In spite of all that we read now and then of someone who strayed off the walkway, fell through what looked like solid ground and wound up scalded or worse. Disobedience can be very costly.
God has provided a walkway for us. He has put up boundaries to let us know where the edges are. He tells us in His Word what the rules are, and He even gives us plenty of examples of consequences for not following the rules. There are many "if . . . then" examples in the Bible. The gist of them all is that IF you obey God and do what He tells you to do, THEN your life will be much better than if you choose stubborn, obstinate, self-centered, "my-way" disobedience. God does not honor or reward such a heart and mind-set. The Bible has easy verses for us to memorize to help us on our walk through life. One of the best is Proverbs 3:5-6. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths." If we can do that, we will not wander off into pools of boiling mud. We will not step onto deceptively crusted chemicals that look safe enough to us, only to find out later that we were oh so wrong. We will never mistake the outwardly calm and placid appearance of a powerful animal for an inward demeanor of tameness, kindness or friendliness. If we ever become lost or confused, we can go to the Word of God for advice. We can seek Godly counsel from those on whom He has showered the gift of wisdom. And unlike boiling chemical pools, charging bison and defensive mama grizzly bears, God is waiting with forgiveness if we just confess, repent, and ask. I take great comfort in that.